A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AAA gas price update: Declining oil prices push pump prices down, below $4 a gallon in Kentucky

This week, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has decreased by 5 cents to $4.27. According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks fell by 3.6 million barrels to land at 241 million barrels last week.

Gasoline demand also decreased slightly from 8.96 million barrels per day to 8.94 million barrels per day. The drop in gas demand is contributing to price decreases, but the impact isn’t as great as the recent downward shift in oil prices, which is creating greater downward pressure on pump prices.

If the oil price continues to decline, pump prices will likely follow suit. The impact expected increased demand could have as the summer travel season emerges on the horizon will also be something to monitor in the coming weeks.

At the close of Wednesday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.40 to settle at $95.04. Since then, it has bounced back slightly (just over 1%) and is currently at $96.11.

Why the reversal?

The reason behind the sudden change in course is likely a reaction to China announcing new lockdowns alongside rising COVID-19 infection rates. The price of oil has moved lower due to market concerns that crude oil demand will decline, as it did in 2020 when countries sought to curb COVID-19 transmission rates.

Additionally, EIA reported that total domestic crude stocks increased by 4.3 million barrels last week to 415.9 million barrels. The recent growth in total domestic crude inventories also contributes to the current reduction in crude prices.

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded sits at $4.27. That’s 6 cents lower than a week ago, but still 74 cents higher than a month ago and $1.39 more than prices a year ago at this time.

The average in Kentucky sits at $3.99, a penny less than Friday and 6 cents less than a week ago. The average in Kentucky is 76 cents more than a month ago and $1.22 more than last year at this time.

AAA offers the following advice to help drivers ease some of the pain they’re feeling at the pump:

• Keep your vehicle in top shape with routine inspections. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires are a drag on fuel economy. Check tire pressure at least every other week and more often when temperatures are fluctuating.

• Map your route before you go to minimize unnecessary turnarounds and backtracking. Avoid peak traffic times and if possible go to “one-stop shops” where you can do multiple tasks (banking, shopping, etc.).

• Fuel economy peaks at around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speeds increase. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.

• A car engine consumes one quarter to one-half gallon of fuel per hour when idling, but a warm engine only takes around 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart. Where safe to do so, shut off your engine if you will be stopped for more than a minute.

• Use “fast pass” or “express” toll lanes to avoid unnecessary stops or slowdowns on the highway.

• Only use premium gas in vehicles that recommend or require it. Paying for premium gas for a vehicle that takes regular is a waste of money and is of no benefit to the vehicle.


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